play hardball

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From the American sport of baseball; the hardball is the heavier and harder type of the two types of throwing ball used when playing that sport.


play hardball

  1. (idiomatic) To use every means possible to achieve a goal, especially in disregarding the harm caused.
    He was more than willing to extend the terms of the loan, but his boss decided to play hardball and demanded a balloon payment.
  2. (idiomatic) To act rough and ruthless, especially in politics or business.
    So you wanna play hardball?